Contrary to popular belief, imaging studies such as x-ray or MRI are not necessary in most cases of back or neck pain. The most important information in making the diagnosis can usually be obtained through a detailed discussion between a trained spine doctor and the patient, along with a skilled examination.
However, many people are sent for imaging studies anyway, and often times are alarmed by the results which are usually nothing to be afraid of. These findings include:
- Bulging disc.
- Degenerative disc (or, worse, “degenerative disc disease”).
- Disc desiccation.
- Facet arthrosis.
In the majority of cases, these findings are normal processes of aging, much like gray hair. So, just as gray hair should not be referred to as “degenerative hair disease”, neither should these findings be immediately labeled as “diseases”.
If you have been told that you have one or more of these findings and are confused or concerned, schedule an appointment with one of the spine experts in the Care New England Spine Care Program. They will be able to help you understand the results, will evaluate the cause of the problem and make a recommendation on how to resolve it.
Dr. Donald Murphy
Dr. Donald Murphy is a chiropractic physician, primary spine practitioner and medical director of the Care New England Spine Care Program. As a primary spine practitioner, he cares for patients with problems such as back or neck pain, thoracic pain, disc pain, radiculopathy, spinal stenosis, whiplash, headache, and pregnancy-related lower back pain.
Dr. Murphy has nearly 30 years’ experience helping people return to productive, meaningful lives and has operated practices throughout Rhode Island. He has served on national expert panels crafting physician guidelines on neck and back pain and has helped implement other integrated spine care programs like the program at Care New England.
Dr. Murphy lives in Cranston and has a wife and three daughters.